Canadian Sarah Marantz Lindenberg says she “came up with the idea” of a bonnet to keep hair in place and out of ones face and now sells the silk “NiteCaps” for $98.
Issue is she did not invent the bonnet and many are incredulous that a white woman would claim to have created something that has long been used by Black women.
In an article in ‘Fashion Magazine,’ a Canadian glossy and online magazine, Marantz Lindenberg says that her “concept” was borne out of a frustration with acne breakouts before her wedding, and she said after consulting with two doctors, both of whom suggested she get her hair away from her face at night, she “created” a bonnet, in this case silk and costing nearly $100.
Harper’s Bazaar wrote the cap’s “for all the chic moms out here.” The Wall Street Journal said Marantz Lindenberg’s hair bonnet is a “…nouveau-granny nightcap to preserve her blowout.” Fashion Magazine wrote that “after much consideration, conceptualization, brainstorming and borderline obsessive research,” she created the NiteCap.
Marantz Lindenberg has shuttered some social media but her company’s Instagram page is up and she addresses the controversy there.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Marantz Lindenberg Claims She ‘Came up With’ the Concert to Solve a Problem’
In an interview with Fashion Magazine, Marantz Lindenberg claims that her “concept came out of a problem that needed solving.”
She was quoted as saying she was preparing for her wedding and, “like a lot of brides, wanted everything to be perfect.” But she had pimples. She said she consulted with two doctors: “A dermatologist recommended that I sleep with my hair pulled back. Another physician recommended I try silk scarves…”
She said that she noticed if her hair wasn’t in her face, her acne cleared up. And, she discovered that sleeping with silk scarves in her hair made it “shinier, thicker, and my blowouts lasted longer.”
She said she saw “products on the market but none of them had a functional and fashionable solution for me,” including made from “synthetic fabrics that I felt did more damage, or horrible colours that I felt silly going to sleep in. It inspired me to create something of my own.”
Her product is a bonnet, albeit a silk one. Though the very same concept, of using a silk or satin bonnet in the hair especially at night has been a centuries-long practice of Black women.
2. The Reaction on Twitter Was Overwhelming & Valid Incredulity From Black Women
“So let me get something straight. A white woman is capitalizing on satin bonnets(FOR NINETY-EIGHT GOTDAMN DOLLARS) as if it’s some new thing she just invented. My black grandma who yelled at me for not keeping my bonnet on overnight is rolling in her damn grave, I just know it.”
“Please stop appropriating everything from Black people, pretending you invented it, then charging tons of money for it. Those are sleep bonnets, and they’ve been available in every beauty supply store since forever.”
“There were products on the market but none of them had a functional and fashionable solution for me—synthetic fabrics that I felt did more damage, or horrible colours that I felt silly going to sleep in.” <—— oh okay. Yep. Uh huh. Yeah okay."
“So a white woman ‘entrepreneur’ is saying she more or less invented the satin bonnet after ‘discovering’ the benefits thru her doctors and is now selling her ✌?invention ✌?for $100? Are you kidding me? When most Black women have been sleeping w/ their hair in bonnets 4 decades?”
3. Meanwhile, Not Only is the Hair Wrap Traditional for Black Women, There Are Black-Owned Businesses With a Very Similar Product; a Satin Hair Bonnet
Black -owned company Bonnet Babe sells satin hair bonnets for $12. Interestingly, it’s also a Canadian company.
And while the bonnet is satin and not silk, the concept of using that kind of cloth is similar in that it helps retain and preserve moisture in hair which helps to strengthen hair as well.
Blogger Mary Anderson wrote, “I wore my bonnet for a full day to slay a racist stereotype.” In the blog she explains the historic use of bonnets.
“For most Black women, wearing a bonnet to sleep is as routine as moisturizing your face before bed. You don’t HAVE to do it, but it does protect your hair, especially if it’s prone to damage, so it’s an essential part of most women’s beauty routines,” she wrote.
On the website for her company, Marantz Lindenberg writes that her concept is based on “silk’s ultra-smooth surface eliminates hair-damaging friction, locks in moisture and distributes hair’s healthy natural oils.”
In other words, the reason Black women use bonnets.
4. Forbes Magazine Called Her ‘NiteCap’ Among the ‘Best the World of Wellness Has to Offer.’ The Black Silk ‘NiteCap’ From Marantz Lindenberg is Called the ‘Cleopatra’ & at $98, is Sold Out
The NiteCaps come in pink, white blue and black, the latter called the ‘Cleopatra.’ And that too has sparked a conversation about appropriation.
“If you’re a Jewish business woman you should know better than to a) use the name Cleopatra to market something as luxurious and b) take from another culture and brand it as your own idea.Shame on Sarah Marantz Lindenberg.”
Forbes magazine said her product was among the ‘Best the World of Wellness Has to Offer,’ and on LinkedIn some reacted negativity to that pronouncement accusing her of a huge markup and cultural appropriation.
“Sarah, I think it’s great that you have a business idea but, selling a product at about a 100% markup that has been used by black people for decades isn’t innovative. This is nothing but appropriation,” wrote TedX speaker Krystle Hickman.
5. Marantz Lindenberg is Marketing Director For Pink Tartan. In the Wake of the Criticism, Fashion Magazine has Since Added an ‘Editor’s Note’ & Marantz Lindenberg Responded
After the original article ran, and likely after the outcry, the magazine added a “note” to its article.
(Editor’s note: Though not strictly used just for sleeping, the item has a long history in black hair culture.)
Founder of NiteCap, Marantz Lindenberg is the marketing & E-commerce director of Canadian brand Pink Tartan.
An attempt to obtain comment from Marantz Lindenberg for this article went unanswered. Her Instagram has been set to private.
But on the NiteCap Instagram page, she wrote:
“NiteCap was developed because I was searching for a product that looked and performed exactly the way I wanted, for my own personal use. It was important for me that the product was produced locally in Canada and made from natural fabrics. A small business grew quickly, but in the process I failed to connect it back to the broader historical context. We stand with those who are hurt, and we respect and hear their voices. We’re committed to honouring the historical significance of hair wrapping and this will now be part of our approach.”
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